Family mediation is a method of conflict resolution, in the field of Family Law, which aims to avoid reaching judicial instances. The objective is to reach an agreement as a consequence of the understanding between the parties, with the help of the figure of a family mediator.
It must be borne in mind that if an agreement that resolves the situation cannot be reached, a judicial process will begin in which the judge will make the final decision, even if it is not convenient for either party.
What is family mediation?
The origins of family mediation date back to the 1930s during the Great Depression in the 1970s, people began to speak of a family negotiation discipline, which focused on the resolution of family conflicts.
The family mediation law in Australia establishes this procedure as an alternative method of conflict resolution in the field of Family Law. The family mediation process seeks a fair and lasting agreement, the fruit of the understanding and commitment of the parties involved, who give up part of their demands for the common benefit. To be successful, there needs to be communication between the parties and the mediator to act impartially and neutrally.
The more dialogue and empathy there is between those involved, the easier it will be to reach a consensus or intermediate point that resolves the conflict. Sometimes it will be necessary for the mediator to collaborate with other professionals, such as psychological experts or legal experts, to help them through the process.
Advantages and objectives of family mediation
Family mediation as an out-of-court resolution is complementary to the administration of justice. However, it has many advantages over the option of trying the case in court. Between them:
- It is cheaper than a judicial process.
- Protect personal relationships before they deteriorate further.
- Both parties benefit.
- The process is smoother and less stressful for the parties involved.
- The agreements are more satisfying psychologically and personally.
- It eases the burden on the courts and shortens the processes.
- Solutions tend to be more durable.
- Alleviate negative consequences for children, if any.
- Responsibilities are assumed by both parties.
- The agreements are more closely tailored to real needs.
- They avoid the feeling that there is a winner or a loser.
- Greater flexibility and collaboration in the face of changes.
- A higher degree of compliance with the agreements is achieved.
- All parties win, since the solution is consensual.
Process and functions of the mediator
The mediator will be the person who leads the meetings aimed at reaching an agreement between the parties. The mediator must remain neutral and not make decisions. Their job is to encourage dialogue that fosters consensus.
In meetings aimed at family mediation there are two fundamental stages:
- The first step is the pre-mediation phase, where the causes that have motivated the process are exposed. The mediator informs the parties, in a clear and concise way, about how the process will develop, its dynamics and what is the objective to be achieved. The commitments to be followed by those involved will also be established. In this first part, initial interviews can be established in order to verify the situations that have led to the conflict.
- The second stage is the negotiation phase itself. It will establish the points of conflict and, later, the points of agreement. For this, it will be necessary for the mediator to be able to establish a fluid dialogue path that leads to a consensual solution.
In these meetings, no lawyer or attorney is needed, and those involved attend them voluntarily, taking a leading role in the process. They are not required to submit to such meetings, so they can withdraw before reaching an agreement.
Types of family mediation
The usual thing is that family mediation is used in divorce or separation processes, especially when there are common children in charge of the interested parties. In many cases, the meetings are aimed at resolving divorce agreements or matters related to the pension or custody of the children.
However, this alternative method to the judicial process also allows the resolution of other family conflicts with yours, such as parental problems, inheritances, management of a family business or disagreements between children over the care of their parents, among others.
Family mediation tries to manage the resolution of conflicts
that occur within the family and make both parties feel good. It promotes
communication and dialogue between the parties involved in order to find a
solution that suits both parties. The entire process is carried out with the
guidance of a neutral third person, and the presence of more specialists, if
necessary. Decisions tend to be more permanent, thus benefiting both parties,
the family environment and the courts, to whom it is not necessary to appeal if
a consensus is reached. Contact Dr Jonathan Toussaint today!